The period between Thanksgiving and Christmas is known for holiday plans, shopping, family gatherings and other activities. But if recent reports are any indication, it’s also a time for online scams.
We’re not sure why this is a time for these rip-offs to multiply. Maybe it has something to do with the holiday spirit making people less likely to challenge the truth of what they hear. Whatever the reason, here are some of the scams that have been reported in Arizona over the past several weeks:
- A phone call comes in from a person who identifies himself as a representative of Arizona Public Service Co. The caller threatens to turn off your electricity unless payment is made immediately using a money gram or a gift card.
- The caller claims that someone in the family has failed to attend jury duty, has an outstanding warrant, or has failed to pay a fine. Payment by wire transfer is demanded to avoid being arrested.
- A dummy website is set up to appear as a legitimate car dealership. The website takes deposits on vehicles the customers think they’re buying. In fact, both the dealership and the cars do not exist.
- You receive an email or other message from someone on an online dating website. The communication appears legitimate, but after messages and pictures are exchanged, the person claims to be a law enforcement officer or the parent of the person, and that he or she is underage. Money is demanded to avoid having charges filed.
As you can see, most of these examples involve what appears to be fairly obvious fraud. As a result, you may find it difficult to see how anyone would fall for any of them. But consider that these types of scams, along with internet auction fraud, internet credit card fraud, internet investment fraud, and others, cost Americans over $800,000,000 each year. That boils down to several million successful scams annually. Some are fairly sophisticated, but many seem easy to spot. So why do people continue to fall for them? Many believe that it’s the failure to listen to the little voice inside that tells you it’s a scam. And our experience is that if it seems too good to be true, it is!
The Feldman Law Firm PLLC
1 E. Washington Street
Phoenix, AZ 85004